ARM yes, SBC definitely, RPi ... maybe not


#1

ARM yes, SBC definitely, Pi not so much so.

Pi has RiscOS (and I’m old enough to have been one of the very first people to see it in action because… well, never mind that ancient history). RiscOS is a product of its time, it’s quirky, fast and largely stuck in the past. POSIX is a more acceptable standard and there’s a LOT more software out there in the FOSS space that’s easy to port. This is where Haiku shines. My jaw hit the desk when I scrolled through the software list and saw so many old friends: Blender, LibreOffice, Transmission, Krita and so many more!

Pi is powered primarily by GNU+Linux with all the baggage and irascible developers that brings. As someone else noted on YouTube, the Linux kernel has been on the go for decades now and is just getting larger, not better. In some respects (yes SystemD, I’m looking at you) it’s gone downhill and lost the plot. *Nix software is supposed to do one thing and do it well. That makes it easier to debug and less prone to crashing. Linux people (I know because I am one) can be like a cult. Not unlike Mac people. If it’s not GNU+Linux, it’s not worth their time. This is probably why the FreeBSD port has stalled.

I believe there are other boards out there that are completely open hardware. Here’s one I have (and do) use. It serves as a private FTP server for my workgroup which are scattered around the country and saves us having to load stuff onto servers controlled by Google or Amazon.

It’s not a well-made board (at least mine wasn’t) but it’s been reliable so far. The metal case looks like it was designed by someone in their spare time but it works.

The point to all this is if we can stop looking at the RPi which is a popular, but ultimately highly restrictive SBC, we might be able to see Haiku make a real impact. Luckily there are Atom-based SBCs coming onstream too now - Intel has its own line of little computers (ComputeStick) that simply plug into your HDMI port and run from there.

Now that’s an ideal platform for Haiku to shine. Right now it’s either an empty do-hickey or Windows 10 which is useable but prone to Microsoft’s every whim.

I’d happily set up a shop and sell branded Haiku sticks all day long and if anyone is willing to join me please do. There isn’t a market there - but there’s one to be created. The sheer speed of Haiku compared to Windows or the Linux kernel with it’s broad appeal (which is why Microsoft crushed BeOS) and simple, single-user setup is ideal for these tiny PCs.

People are familiar with Windows 10 but having to log in is a bind. Haiku is a perfect OS for single computers the way the designers of the original personal computer (Commodore, with the foolishly named – personal electronic transactor or PET) and IBM with it’s PC.

You didn’t log in, you switched on and you got cracking. Logging in is for multi-user systems and unless security is a major consideration that’s where it should stay. The very term “logging on” comes from the idea that everyone was tracked in case something went pear-shaped, audited for processor times, etc.

Compute sticks and similar products are idea and you just chuck them in a shirt pocket! I’ve done a very rough mockup of what this might look like and I hope everyone would agree this could be seriously cool!

haiku


#2

unfortunately there is no dislike button to press!


#3

Quite a long post to “dislike” Bruno, which bits don’t you agree with?


#4

Why do you dislike this so much? It’d be a way to run Haiku on every smart TV so long as the SoC hardware was supported. Right now, Haiku just runs on compatible mobile and desktop machines and could use the extra support, Intel or not.

Now, the idea of vPro (featuring the Intel ME), that I don’t like.

But if he can get Haiku onto stick machines working and distributed, hey, that’d be a small step to getting Haiku out to consumers more than now where they have to remove or reinstall their factory OS.


#5

That’s my thinking. I don’t like Intel’s control (I’ve ordered a compute stick to see what I can do with it and even if Haiku runs on it) but there are other sticks from the Chinese that use ARM and Intel architecture that I’m sure we could leverage.

This might even be something for Kickstarter? I’m just chucking the idea out there, I’m not trying to start a business, but it stuck me that these little sticks are an absolute dream for Haiku. I expect the gotcha right now is going to be lack of a Bluetooth stack to run the keyboard and mouse but I’m sure the devs are aware of this.

I’d even punt out a boxed Pi-like SBC with Haiku on it because (let’s be honest here) GNU-Linux isn’t all that friendly nor is it particularly fast/efficient compared to Haiku. All this password here and password there isn’t the sort of thing people want to be fiddling with.

Seems that a LEGAL Kodi install might be a good target for Haiku too. I don’t know enough about Haiku but a Haiku JEOS would be incredibly cool - particularly on ARM since Linux is far too clunky in my experience.


#6

Bought some compute sticks in my company as a test to roll to clients with a low end hardware requirement to display software output or website kiosks.

It didnt pass the test phase because of hardware being expensive and not so reliable. So… not really liking the idea.


#7

Well, the sad part about the Raspberry Pi (arm-based) is that I don’t know if Haiku will ever be ported to it or not. Even if the core OS was running on it, the packages from the Depot would all need to be ported as well.

So, as far as that goes, one of my personal projects is to get a Haiku VM on top of Gnu/Linux, and have where the Pi can kind of run Haiku that way. But then, of course, without the kernel acceleration that is available to x64, it’d be slow and probably wouldn’t be practical. So perhaps making a desktop environment modeled after BeOS, not based on Gtk or Qt, is another approach to fixing this with a ‘baron’ account managing it all. So Couplet will do both.

But anyway, as for your idea, if you can do it, go for it. Seriously, I think it’d be a great idea to try to get Haiku on Intel compute sticks if you can get it to run out of the box satisfactorily (even if it was with VESA mode enabled).

The only thing I’d add for caution would be to keep with Intel boards for your idea and stay clear of third-party x86 boards that may have their own backdoor chipsets and other shortcomings, like short-lived or smoking hardware (all of which have happened to cheap boards).


#8

I think the smoking hardware that’s @Pahefu’s point but (and correct me if I’m wrong here) that would have been running Linux? People have this idea that the Linux kernel is somehow lightweight but the reality is that YMMV.

I put Linux Mint on the N150 and it ran like a lame dog. Haiku is fast, responsive and while not perfect (it’s a beta after all at this stage) it’s very useful. Seems to me the developers have spent a lot of time getting the kernel to run like a kernel should - it’s hybrid if I’m not mistaken and Linux is just a huge monolithic lump that other people have to strip down to make things like OpenELEC.

It doesn’t have to be compute stick, it could just as easily be a little box with an Atom (does anyone else make Intel compatible chips?) type low-end hardware inside. It’s a return to what personal computers are supposed to be - an appliance. You plug it in and go!


#9

No. I meant specifically Intel Compute Sticks not being up to the task as expensive (when they had 2 different models) and not so good in the end, but working (no smoke). But for the same price range, you could have bought a small factor Cube shaped gigabyte pc.

Btw final kiosks ended using a previous gigabyte barebone model with a Linux distro, but heavily customized in packages by hand, not just deploying Mint/Ubuntu/etc. I made

For SBC, i have been tinkering with the Pi, some arduinos and Udoo boards, all coming with Linux. I heard that Udoo has now a x86 which might work with Haiku but they are not cheap nor bundled with a case (iirc).


#10

Exactly. Intel has the x86 market sewn up at the low end - unless AMD have something that I’m not aware of.

But yeah, an SBC in a box (even if we had to do a Kickstarter) to sell Haiku as an “appliance” - I’d be happy to see the developers get in on this and it were successful, that could help fund OS development.


#11

I think you miss the point on some of the linux stuff. The kernel maybe larger, yes, but that comes with features, changing out old systems, getting more processor architectures supported, etc. Asd, for note, systemd has nothing to do with the kernel. Its just popular bucause devs don’t have to manage their own brand of upstart or SysV anybore.

Personally I like runit. And because I do, theres ways to make runit work in any system, with systemd or by replacing systemd.

But thats outside the scope of this thread.

I think haiku on pi would be great. Yes theres better hardware, and to run haiku on a cowpute stick is nice and all, but theres more pi’s out there than compute sticks. Easily. And having it be available would have people look at haiku, see the benefits, and lome of those kids in school learning how to program with a pi as their test hardware would probably like having a platform of their own, so to say. Haiku IS after all based on a system that was neat, but fizzled when it lost its chances that it had. A continuation left frozen in time, much lixske amigaOS 4 or AROS which I am a user of personally.

That, and no one coplained about having choices for users. If everyone did we’d just have apple and that would be horrible.


#12

have you purchased and tested on the Intel Compute Stick?


#13

Fair point about SystemD - I run Debian on a bunch of mini-servers here and it’s terrific for that, but this isn’t about the existing compute sticks.

It’s about putting Haiku ON a compute stick (or something akin to Gigabyte Brix) and selling that as an appliance. As I’ve been developing this idea with the help of another user here, it’s more apparent that some custom x86 hardware, designed specifically to support the existing Haiku drivers is in order. This eliminates the problem of having to write new software to support it and we could just ship it as a box… Like computers used to be: when you bough a computer that came with an OS (such as they were then). ZX80, Oric, Pet, C64, BBC Micro and so on.

BeOS didn’t miss its chance, it just got crushed under Microsoft’s boot - MS payed a lot of money (>$20M) for that and ultimately we didn’t get a choice. Microsoft has never been a fan of competition - particularly when it comes from Eu countries. If Haiku were not an Open Source project, I’ve little doubt that MS would still be putting the boot in. Mentioned here I think: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BeOS

Haiku is efficient too - by design if I’m reading their whitepapers correctly. It’s an OS that could really be an alternative to the privacy thieves over at Amazon and Google (that’s a personal bugbear of mine). Here have a cheap phone/computer/appliance) but you have to sign over the rights for us to track pretty much every time you sneeze and where you do it.

The RPi has an operating system in GNU+Linux and I honestly can’t see why the developers would want to devote a considerable amount of time (a precious resource) developing for an SBC that it has almost no hope of ever gaining a foothold on. Even RiscOS isn’t widely used on the Pi.

Other ARM boards seem to come with a version of Linux but some are less restrictive. Remember the Pi has that odious and closed source driver in the SOC. Developers have to sign their lives away to get access to that - and I’m with RMS on this one. Closed source is bad enough but it’s particularly odious when it has first bite of the hardware. It’s not a whole lot different to Intel’s ME.

But the thing that really irks me with Linux on a low-powered box is it tends to look utterly hideous, particularly when compared to a modern visualisation like Budgie (which ships with Solus but also Ubuntu now). To get the sort of performance I’m seeing with Haiku on my reference Samsung N150, I have to run something like Puppy Linux. So you have X and on top of that you have a window manager… It’s all weighing down on the poor little processor. LXQt looks like it’s going to be pretty sweet so far as eye-candy goes at the low-power end but I doubt it could match Haiku on the same hardware and I prefer Haiku’s interface, despite it having some dubious choices in places.

When it comes to *nix boxes I prefer *BSD over Linux for a bunch of reasons but mostly because I don’t have a lot of time for the way the Linux kernel is developed. (Not a subject for this thread.) As I noted above, there was a push for FreeBSD 10 (I think) to the RPi but that really did fizzle. I think it’s because the Pi “ships” with an official OS that’s based on Linux and apart from RiscOS all the other main offerings are some derivation of that.

Haiku blew me away. It was like installing something to an SSD and when it’s running, it’s fast too. It struck me right away that this is the sort of OS that could power Smart TVs, tablets, small laptops and even… compute sticks. I believe LibRetro has been ported so games are not a major issue - what I’m seeing here is a beautiful OS without some hardware to show it off.

Think of the Apple TV, Amazon Firestick or the Chromebook. They’re not defined by their OS, they’re appliances - but all have restrictive or intrusive licences.

We even have Kodi “boxes” now which are odious ways of defeating copyright and giving Kodi a bad name. I’d really like to see a Haiku box or Haiku stick (which could easily ship with a blind Kodi should that be ported) that you just plug and go. Just some USB ports, ethernet and a nicely finished case. No more than it needs - the RPi is great for hardware projects but it’s tough to find a nice case and the power requirements are a PITA. I’d love to know how many people besides enthusiasts like us by a Raspberry give it a play and then stick it in a drawer. Anecdotally, I heard of a fair few. Some hardware experts are not that enamoured with the way the USB and ethernet are connected but that’s beyond my knowledge. Certainly, the lads who are developing Armbian (which is well worth a look if you haven’t seen it) don’t seem terribly struck on it. I use Armbian to drive my Lime 2 because Olimex’s Linux is awful. The problems they are facing make the prospect of an ARM version even more remote. https://www.armbian.com/

Which brings me back to the x86 variant. The hardware and drivers all exist. I think the question is, is there a market for such a thing? It would run Linux easily (if it can run Haiku, it can run Linux and why not). It could presumably run Windows (slowly) or *BSD…

It’s not about what you can run on it, it would be what it ships with - hence that mockup above.

A plug and go appliance powered by Haiku - this wasn’t my original thought but it’s a more evolved version of the idea.


#14

Yes and yes.

It failed - not because Haiku is bad but because the ****s at Intel/Microscoffed have locked it down so that it would need some sort of hack to make it work. Quite an expensive experiment as it turned out. I remember the days when you bought a piece of hardware and it ran … pretty much anything that it was supposed to. You owned it…

These days it seems that with Google/Android or Microsoft/Intel you but some hardware but they still own it because you can’t (effectively) change what they give you.


#15

Totally agree about Microsoft. It appalls me how many people don’t give the monopolistic behaviors a second thought in today’s age…

But sadly… I have noticed that lately Apple is going the same direction. I don’t necessarily mind if the iPod, iPad, etc. are locked; they have always been. But the Mac has always been the pavilion of Unix developers, imho, because it let people run the default Mac OS, BSD, Linux, or what not. For example, my older MacBooks run Haiku fairly well. But stuff like T2 is changing that. Removing the ports, and now locking it down. Pretty soon, I imagine I’ll quit using the Mac if the continued lockdown of Macintosh hardware continues…


#16

I’ve already abandoned the Mac when my 18 m/o machine died and that hurt. I also find that they can’t make the sort of hardware that I need - not even if I could afford their prices (which I can’t). I love the OS but it’s getting bloated and the hardware is less reliable and harder than ever to repair.

Running Haiku on an old Mac sounds like a wonderful idea - in fact, I’d not considered it a possibility before. I have an old Core 2 Duo MacBook with Ubuntu Mate (which runs well) but it would be better served with Haiku. In fact, I had this very discussion with a pal of mine just today!

Given this machine can’t boot from a USB stick - how did you install?


#17

MacBooks can boot from USB, but getting Haiku to do that is a challenge of itself. What I did was I took the disk out, installed Haiku from a separate computer with a MBR table/Legacy format, then put the disk back in. And voila! Haiku. I’ve confirmed my method works on my 2006 and 2007 MacBooks, and on my early 2011 MacBook Pro.


#18

Sounds like a plan to me - we could never get Ubuntu to boot from a USB stick (we even tried PLOP). Mind you there is something odd with their bootable disks so it might be that - as it is I have to create a new CD every couple of years to upate the OS and that means digging around on the web for the instructions on creating and diddling around with the image to make it into some other more acceptable format. CD booting isn’t my strong suit.

I’m going to have a look through and see if there are any gotchas. I couldn’t see WINE for Haiku yet which isn’t major but it would be nice to have.


#19

Would this work on a Late 2006 MacBook Pro? Running native on metal would be nice! Virtual Box is kind of a dog to run Haiku in!

Also, has anyone considered the ODroid N2 as a platform for Haiku? I hate to lose BeOS binary compatibility, but that’s the price of running on ARM, I guess.


#20

Following the XHCI fixes, it should at least be possible to boot Haiku from a USB2 stick or a USB2 port. If you still can’t (and Linux or FreeBSD can), that’s a bug. (USB3 sticks on USB3 ports are known to be broken during boot, though they work after booting is done, on most of the chipsets MacBooks use, hopefully we’ll figure that one out eventually.)